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Steam's latest Hardware Survey is out, shows Linux at 0.84%

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The latest Steam Hardware Survey is now available and if you take it at face value it doesn't look so good for Linux. I am remaining positive as always about it. I'm not going to give it some sensationalist headline about it being terrible or anything like that, I will simply give you some thoughts on it.

First up, the facts:
Linux is currently at 0.84%, which doesn't sound like a lot and there is a drop over last months 0.90%.

Now, onto some thoughts:
The key thing to remember is Steam overall is always growing, so a lower overall percentage of Linux users doesn't necessarily mean there are less Linux users on Steam (it could actually be more, but dwarfed by also having even more Windows users on Steam). An older article from Cheese states this:
QuoteFirst up, it can be easy to miss that percentages are ratios. When looking at changes over time, an increase or decrease in percentages doesn't necessarily mean that there is a corresponding increase or decrease in the population represented by that percentage.


Before reading this next part, I should remind you this is an editorial. These are my personal thoughts on it and I could be wrong. I accept that, but I think it's interesting anyway.

You can make it appear by simply having different hardware or a different operating system. It seems to detect when you change things, as if it knows it needs to check on you again. This is by design of course, as the entire point of it is to show what people are currently using, so if you've changed something it wants to know about it and send it along. This is one reason why people keep saying they see it when they boot into Windows after not using it for a while, of course you will, that's a change in your setup. This is another reason why I dislike it, as that can create an unintentional bias in the results. This bias isn't against Linux though, as it would work the same the opposite way around of course. This is why I feel the results were actually a lot higher for Linux initially, as it did a survey for a big bunch of Windows/Mac users trying it and submitting it on Linux before moving back to Windows/Mac.

A good bit of reading was a recent editorial titled "A different approach to calculating the popularity of Linux gaming on Steam" which will help put your mind at ease.

I would also like to point out that I personally feel things are still looking good, as I wrote in a recent editorial.

Also remember, we have our own statistics page which is currently in BETA. Would love more feedback on that, seems people like it so far!
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42 comments
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MayeulC 1 June 2016 at 10:25 pm UTC
It has been a while since the last survey I got on Linux. Then, maybe I am not that lucky

About the new survey, I find it nice, maybe the time-based graphs are missing, but I guess this will come after a few months of data. I didn't see the arch (32 vs 64) stats, though. Did I miss it? Or is the proportion of users running 32 bit distros really negligible?
STiAT 1 June 2016 at 10:28 pm UTC
Didn't change a thing.

But this time, first time ever (yey) I got the survey on Linux.
ismaelbonato 1 June 2016 at 10:33 pm UTC
This is a joke? 2030 = 0%?
linux_gamer 1 June 2016 at 11:21 pm UTC
Not my fault, I did get the survey yesterday (for the first time in years)!

Pretty obvious that linux user statistics are surveyed by the same guys that did count Hofer's votes in the Austrian election.
badber 1 June 2016 at 11:27 pm UTC
Sounds like this has been going down from the tone of the article but I'd have liked if some history had been cited here.
TheRiddick 2 June 2016 at 12:18 am UTC
It would be nice if Steam just allowed you to invoke the survey yourself via settings menu. Or have it so you can set you account to Linux yourself.
GustyGhost 2 June 2016 at 12:24 am UTC
^That would be great for those of us who embraced Linux after building a Steam account.
Shmerl 2 June 2016 at 12:54 am UTC
I think people should stop paying attention to this survey. It's not representative of the whole picture even for Steam itself.
niarbeht 2 June 2016 at 12:57 am UTC
I haven't gotten the survey in...

Uhh....

A long, long time.

THE EVIL PARANOID TINFOIL HAT CRAZY PERSON inside of me suspects that Valve might be evilly reducing their Linux survey rate for evil reasons that revolve around future big game releases or other evil reasons, when they might start polling normally.

But that should be disregarded because I _KNOW_ it's crazy-talk.
Corben 2 June 2016 at 12:59 am UTC
It would be interesting how many people in total are getting the survey. I would guess it's a percentage of all users chosen randomly. So probably a lot of Windows and Mac users also don't get the survey. But maybe they aren't eager for it. I remember the times, when I got annoyed by the survey on Windows :->
Now I would be happy to get it on Linux.


Last edited by Corben at 2 June 2016 at 1:01 am UTC
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